Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Exercise and Heat

Summer has hit the Hudson Valley with full force. As summer kicks in, people will be spending more time outdoors. Here are a few things to remember when exercising, working or playing in the outdoors and the heat:

1. Time. Avoid exercising outside during the heat of the day, which is usually between 10:00 am and 4:00pm. If at all possible, try and get your workout in early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are lower and the sun is not as strong.

2. Dress. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that will allow the sweat to evaporate from your skin. Choose lighter colors as they don't absorb as much heat as darker colored clothing. Always wear a lightweight hat or visor and sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes.

3. Sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen will help you avoid getting sunburn, which is not only painful, but can prevent your skin from cooling off and rob your body of necessary fluids and nutrients. It will also help protect you from the damaging ultra violet rays that can damage your skin. Apply it 15-20 minutes prior to going out and re-apply every 30-40 minutes.

4. Water. Drink lots of water. As you sweat, you risk dehydration as your body loses water. Besides drinking the 6-8 glasses of water recommended daily, you should drink 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes while you work out or exercise. If you are exercising for longer than an hour, add a sports drink to replace the salt, potassium and other electrolytes your body loses as you sweat.

5. Take it easy. Pay attention to your heart rate and/or your rate of perceived exertion. When you are exercising in heat, your body increases blood flow to your skin in an effort to cool off, which results in less blood for your muscles and a higher heart rate. Go slow and take it easy.

Keep these tips in mind and you will have a much more enjoyable time outdoors during the summer months.

Happy summer.